View Full Version : The Problem With ESPN's Manny Coverage

06-26-2009, 03:10 PM
You can't blame New Mexico residents for flocking to the Albuquerque Isotopes' stadium for Manny Ramirez's cameo appearance. After all, New Mexico is one of the 25 states without a professional team; it is completely void of sports celebrity. What is inexcusable, however, is that the league has allowed Ramirez to play in the minors in the first place. Even worse is ESPN's overabundant coverage of his every at-bat for the Isotopes. Why is a "rehab stint" for a Triple-A team getting so much exposure?

He is at the tail end of a suspension for female fertility drugs, which are used to mask steroids in tests. But the Dodgers' "Mannywood" fans stand by him. He's been known for zany antics that often cross the line to inappropriate behavior, but he’s always excused by the phrase "Manny being Manny." Well, fans will be fans. Now he has been receiving thunderous applause from New Mexico, because for these past few exciting days of their typically boring year, they have felt like a real state in sports. This is understandable.

But why does the league permit such commotion, and why are ESPN and the rest of the nation giving Ramirez applause? Isn't he still suspended from the MLB for cheating? Twenty years ago, a player was outcast from society for cheating, his reputation never to be salvaged. Today, it seems that America roots for the cheater more than the underdog. Maybe they have no choice—steroids have run so rampant in the '90s and 2000s that anyone with elite talent is suspect.The best player of this era, Alex Rodriguez, is the active poster boy of the steroid era, with Ramirez joining as his right hand man. Retired but not relieved of allegations are Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Rafael Palmeiro, and Roger Clemens. That accounts for five of the top 12 all-time home run hitters (Bonds is first) and arguably one of the best pitchers ever.

Maybe it's too late to demand outrage, because the national fanbase already seems desensitized to the concept of Major League cheating. Last decade, bandwagon fans helped save post-strike baseball during McGwire and Sosa's single-season homer campaigns. Then Bonds crushed both the single-season and all-time homer records. Clearly, everyone's blinders were on because of the nation's fawning admiration for the long ball. All three players have since been exposed as frauds, seemingly revoking the collective impact of their feats. That was a big hit for the game to take.

But those fallen stars led to the desensitization, which has worked perfectly for Ramirez. He already pissed off Boston and was sent packing to L.A., where he was welcomed warmly. Now he has pissed the wrong thing into an MLB official's cup and again has been sent packing. This time, his warm welcome comes from Albuquerque. Where will his warm welcome be the next time he lies, cheats, or exhibits disloyalty?

The eradication of professional class and sportsmanship is epitomized by Major League Baseball. It is the laughingstock of professional sports leagues, to the point where even the NFL is looking down at baseball. An NBA referee has been imprisoned for throwing and betting on games, and pro basketball still has fewer dark clouds than MLB.

There are a few possible ways to try to restore the dignity of the national pastime. The first is to resist the urge to forgive the offenders so easily. This goes for the fans, the media, and all facets of the league itself. Installing a 50-game suspension for any player’s first positive test was a crucial step in the right direction. However, it should be taken even further. Commissioner Bud Selig should make examples of the cheaters. He should disallow mid-suspension rehab stints like Manny's vacation to New Mexico. A suspension should mean no competitive play, for major or minor league teams. Also, the league should prohibit the suspended player from playing in the All-Star Game. There are countless reliable, clean players who deserve the honor more than someone who took a banned substance to bolster his game. Sure, All-Star voting is at the discretion of MLB fans. So the name of the cheater should be removed from the ballot and barred from write-in votes. Lastly, any player with tainted statistics due to performance-enhancing drugs should be forbidden from the record books and the Hall of Fame. If they were caught cheating, they shouldn’t be able to write history. Injecting yourself with steroids is like going back in time, messing with the numbers, and claiming victory when you come back on top.

The concept of immortalizing steroid abusers for their on-field feats is shameful to the game and its forefathers. Not to mention, it sends out a deplorable message to the youth fanbase. Obviously, some of these suggestions are harsh. But if the situation is not confronted as aggressively as possible, the dark clouds will persist. If steroids elevate players to fame, then positive steroid tests should negate that fame. As punishment, the league should nullify the guilty party's profit gained through the illegal act. You can't rob a bank, get caught, get thrown in jail, get released 10 years later, and go home to the million dollars you originally stole. You lose all that you gained during the illegal act.

As for ESPN, the network should stop acting like the sports section of the tabloids. When Brett Favre retires and unretires again and again, viewers are bombarded with round-the-clock Favre coverage. This year, it even got to the point that a few of the analysts uttered sarcastic quips, as if to say, "here we go again." Now, Ramirez gets in trouble, and ESPN shines the spotlight on him before he even returns from suspension. If viewers wanted to give a person their undivided attention for doing the wrong thing and offer them undeserved glorification, they would watch Jon and Kate, Paris Hilton, or Kim Kardashian’s shows.

The majority of fans just want to watch good, clean, competitive sports. It's doubtful that most SportsCenter viewers hope for opening highlights of a suspended baseball player—especially when he goes 0-for-2 with a strikeout and a groundout in a Triple-A game. It’s bad enough when big league stars tarnish the image of MLB with steroid use. But it's contradictory and wrong for the league to give these offenders "get out of jail free" cards. Furthermore, ESPN's ratings ploy to further deify players like Ramirez, especially mid-suspension, is unacceptable. True stars have no need to cheat; they deserve the media overexposure.

Link (http://bleacherreport.com/articles/207018-manny-ramirez-mid-suspension-party-mlb-allows-espn-glorifies)

sorry for the weird format, I tried to fix it up some.

06-26-2009, 03:58 PM
This is another reason why I hate ESPN

06-26-2009, 04:12 PM
sounds like this idiot wants a government takeover of espn to cover what he wants to see. Suspended players always get rehab assignment, not like he's getting special treatment.

Havoc Wreaker
06-26-2009, 04:17 PM
ESPN = News = Business = Whatever Sells = Manny = Coverage


06-26-2009, 04:29 PM
I am equally disappointed with the media coverage on Manny.

It's simply confusing that they can potray Sammy, Bonds, and even A-Rod as cheaters one day, yet attempt to get behind Manny's comeback.

The larger concern for me is the fact that we had to listen to the media the past 3-5 years admit to dropping the ball on steroids.
Admit that they should have known better, they were in the locker rooms, they saw the bodies change, yet never questioned the role steroids was playing.
My concern is that 5/10 years from now we will hear all the lame excuses again.

Why is nobody questioning the role Performance Enhancing Drugs is playing in baseball in 2009?
When a superstar of Manny's caliber can be caught abusing drugs in 2009 there is still a problem . . .

Of course it's a rhetorical question, b/c I know why ESPN doesn't want to dig at that point. Baseball will be more entertaining and attractive without tarnishing its image all over again. And Wednesday Night Baseball on ESPN could consequently attract less viewers.

There is a huge problem of interdependence between ESPN and the sports that they cover. I wonder though if it will all boil over at some point or if they will be able to continue to manipulate their coverage.

06-26-2009, 06:15 PM
ESPN doesn't force you to watch their programming.

iam brett favre
06-26-2009, 06:57 PM
You guys make ESPN sound so much worse than it really is.

06-26-2009, 09:09 PM
This is another reason why I hate ESPN

Did you hate espn when they had cameras shoved up bonds *** when he was chsing the record?

06-26-2009, 09:11 PM
Its simple why they are doing this. East cost bias obviously

06-27-2009, 02:07 PM
You guys make ESPN sound so much worse than it really is.

Correction: They're not doing enough to make ESPN sound as bad as it is.

06-27-2009, 02:08 PM
ESPN is the commercialization of sports. Any true knowledgeable sports fan knows that ESPN is only good for the broadcasting of sports games and events that they buy out. Everything else is garbage.

06-27-2009, 02:37 PM